Without further explanation, Judge Jeffrey Minehart has dropped three of the eight murder charges against abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, including the charge for murdering the 28-week-old baby he kept in a water jug in the clinic freezer. Five counts of corpse abuse were also dropped at the request of defense attorneys, according to LifeNews. These charges apparently referenced Gosnell’s habit of keeping severed baby feet in jars.
Gosnell remains on trial for four infant deaths, plus the death of an adult patient due to an overdose of anesthetics, and the Associated Press maintains that he could still face the death penalty if convicted. The AP report speculates that the judge threw out three of the murder charges because he didn’t see enough hard evidence that the babies were alive when their spinal cords were cut:
Common Pleas Judge Jeffrey Minehart did not explain why he granted some of the defense motion to acquit Gosnell after more than a month of prosecution testimony. Such motions are routine but rarely granted.
The defense questioned testimony from staffers who said they had seen babies move, cry or breathe. McMahon argued that each testified to seeing only a single movement or breath.
“These are not the movements of a live child,” McMahon said. “There is not one piece — not one — of objective, scientific evidence that anyone was born alive.”
Actually, according to CNS News, McMahon went even further: “If we are going in this room to say a baby is born alive because it moves one time without any other movement, that is ludicrous.” But the grand jury report said that in one of the charges Judge Minehart acquitted, the baby was “moving and breathing for 20 minutes before an assistant came in and cut the spinal cord, just the way she had seen Gosnell do it so many times.”
The prosecution may also have trouble making a third-degree murder charge stick in the death of the adult patient:
The jury will also ponder third-degree murder charges against Gosnell for the 2009 overdose death of 41-year-old Karnamaya Mongar, a recent refugee to the U.S. who died after an abortion at hiss Women’s Medical Society.
McMahon argued that third-degree requires malice, or “conscious disregard” for her life.
“She wasn’t treated any differently than any of the other thousands of other people who went through there,” McMahon argued Tuesday, in a preview of his likely closing arguments.
Prosecutors might concede that point themselves at closings, and argue that patients were routinely exposed to unsanitary, intentionally reckless conditions at the clinic. Former staffers have testified that patients received heavy sedatives and painkillers from untrained workers while Gosnell was offsite, and were then left in waiting rooms for hours, often unattended, before Gosnell arrived for the late-night surgeries.
Despite that, the workers testified that they had never seen a woman go into distress before Mongar. Yet a 2011 grand jury report alleges that dozens of women were injured at Gosnell’s clinic over the past 30 years, calling it a “house of horrors.” Some left with torn wombs or bowels, some with venereal disease contracted through the reuse of non-sterilized equipment, and some left with fetal remains still inside them, the report alleged. And the report blamed Gosnell for an earlier maternal death that was not charged.
In other words, conditions in the Gosnell abortion mill were so horrible that an individual patient’s death can’t be proven malicious. Death and Pestilence were full-time employees, their ministrations provided impersonally.
One of the first-degree murder charges still standing against Gosnell is for the murder of a baby who was “born alive in a toilet, and according to testimony, was “swimming’ and ‘trying to get out,'” according to CNS News.